I had an epiphany this morning. It went like this: what should I be saying yes to that I’m saying no to, and what should I be saying no to but have been saying yes to? I took a mental inventory. Upon entering the new year, or really any time, this sort of yes/no check-up is a worthwhile endeavor. After all, an unexamined life lacks direction and purpose.
Let me take a small detour. About two years ago, I exacted a thorough decluttering of my life. I called it ‘The Year of No’. Once everything was stripped away, delightful ease arrived in determining the things that should never have been there in the first place, as well as other things that were healthy to allow back in. The fruit of this effort was a calmness and rest I’d never before experienced, as well as time to release two books!
Since this uber intentional ‘Year of No’, I’ve been meticulous about adding only a select few things back into my life. My yes list is shockingly short, and I like it that way. It’s simply composed of life-giving things I choose to spend my time on, and those with whom I choose to spend my time with.
This ‘No’ approach created greater space for soul-fueling pursuits, for more quality time with loved ones, and more intentional periods of rest and renewal. There are only so many hours in a day, and so many years left in my life. I cannot afford to fritter away what I’ve been given on activities that don’t match my purpose or vision. I need to use time wisely.
Returning to this morning and the yes/no list. I’m sharing it with you in case it sparks some ideas, inspires you to take inventory or even make your own list. Here’s what I came up with (every yes is followed by the correlating no):
◦ Yes to life—the good, bad and the ugly—embracing the truth that all of it combines to refine me. No to toxic replays of failure or loss.
◦ Yes to being thankful in all circumstances. No to ungrateful complaints.
◦ Yes to forgiveness and freedom. No to carrying past hurt or harboring unforgiveness.
◦ Yes to stepping fearlessly into uncertainty and unknowns. No to fearful projections or a scarcity mindset.
◦ Yes to championing others. No to competition or comparison.
◦ Yes to growing and learning new things. No to a mindset of mediocrity.
◦ Yes to greater kindness and generosity. No to complacency or to turning a blind eye to need.
◦ Yes to life-giving activities and participation in groups that align with my calling and God’s timing. No to volunteering or participating in groups to people-please or activities that cause burn out and distract from my true purposes.
◦ Yes to the things I know I must do but have been putting off. No to procrastination.
◦ Yes to arms flung open love. No to retracting in fear of hurt or rejection.
◦ Yes to new adventures and play. No to playing it safe.
◦ Yes to flourishing in my God-given creativity. No to minimizing my true self or conforming to others’ projections of who I am.
And there it is. What would you place on your list? What might you borrow from mine?
I’ll leave you with these few questions. What are you saying yes to in order to feel needed, gain accolades, or endear yourself to others? What are you saying yes to that is burning out you or your family? These are a good place to start as you determine your no’s.
Regarding your yes’s, what activity or pastime makes you come alive inside or feel that satisfying sense of accomplishment? What positive habit or mindset would initiate inner growth or fortitude? What sorts of choices or behavior would help you grow into a kinder, more loving person? Add these to your yes list!
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. ~ Colossians 3:23
Something to think about:
- Sometimes we’re so overloaded we falsely believe the lie that we couldn’t possibly stop and that if we do, things will fall apart without us! Reality check: #1. You’re not God. #2. You could be missing God’s best by overpacking your schedule and settling for just good. #3. You could be stealing someone else’s blessing by overstaying in a role.
- Let’s not miss our God-assigned purposes by being distracted with the things He never asked of us.
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